TikTok has continued its trend of scooping up American influencers by hiring a former high-ranking US-Government staffer.
The Chinese-owned social media company has hired Jamal Brown, President Biden’s former campaign national press secretary. The former Deputy Spokesperson for the Department of Defense will be operating in a diplomatic role for the tech giant, he will ‘manage policy communications’ for the United States and the Americas.
The former government official joins TikTok amid its alleged involvement of misuse of American consumer data, and accusations that the platform might pose a national security threat.
Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview, “This sort of cozy relationship between the Biden Defense Department and TikTok is alarming.”
“TikTok and their Chinese parent company present a serious national security threat but Joe Biden continues to dither as they gobble up Americans’ personal information,” the senator continued.
The video-sharing application, owned by parent company ByteDance, is projected to have over 100 million active users in the United States by the year 2024, and currently boasts over 86 million. Due to the fact that all Chinese-owned businesses are inherently in bed with the CCP, it has lawmakers concerned and some are calling for action.
“Get serious: make ByteDance sell TikTok,” Hawley demanded.
In an interview on Tuesday, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr urged U.S. officials to ban the application in order to protect American citizens’ private data. Carr argued that there is no way Americans can have “sufficient confidence” that their data isn’t being shared by the company with Bejing officials, a likely scenario as Chinese law mandates that companies must share their own data upon request.
Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher has also aired his consternation over the company’s sustained prominence stateside, and its recent hiring practices. “This is a shocking example of how the CCP uses the swamp against us,” he said. “Given the threat TikTok poses to user privacy and the potential for its algorithm to be manipulated by the CCP at any point to influence American public opinion, we need to ban the app before it is too late.”
Brown piggybacked on his former boss’s claims of Trump’s alleged corruption with Russia and China during the 2020 presidential debates. He was one of the first to attempt to dismiss the Hunter Biden laptop story as pure fiction – a story that has been widely verified since.
— Jamal Brown (@JTOBrown) October 23, 2020
Biden campaign National Press Secretary @JTOBrown responds to Twitter’s decision to block a New York Post story about Hunter Biden.
— Cheddar News (@cheddar) October 15, 2020
“I think Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and they’re not true. I’m glad to see social media companies like Twitter taking responsibility to limit misinformation,” he told Cheddar News in October of 2020.
TikTok does not appear to have announced Brown’s hire publicly as his addition was first mentioned in a Politico newsletter on Tuesday. The report was made amid a slew of other DC job announcements, and described that Brown’s new role was to “manage policy communications for the Americas, primarily focusing on the United States.”
Brown’s hiring is the latest in line with an effort by the social media platform to employ American representatives in its attempts to assuage American concerns of any illicit data harvesting. The company is currently in negotiations regarding whether or not ByteDance will be forced to sell its American arm of the platform. “We are confident that we are on a path to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Government that will satisfy all reasonable national security concerns,” a recent press release from the company read.
According to lobbying disclosures, TikTok has hired Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s former aide, Stacey Ettinger, to represent the company in a lobbying capacity this year. Previously Ettinger was a senior legal and policy advisor to the New York senator.
In a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Google, Carr wrote, “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data. Indeed, TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints … and voiceprints.”
In August 2020, President Trump attempted to ban the company outright with an executive order that would bar American citizens from having transactions with ByteDance, and tried to force the company into selling its American interests to a local company. In June of 2021, President Biden revoked the former president’s executive order providing the company, at least for the time being, an extended runway into the future.
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